NYE, the Inca trail & Machu Picchu
Trip Start Nov 26, 2009
28Trip End Mar 17, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
The plaza was jammed full of people drinking, dancing and taking in the festivities. Just as I turned and asked the local guy next to me "So does anything special happen af midnight?", I was forced to start running by the hoards. There´s my answer, I thought. On the stroke of midnight everyone ran in a large circle around the square to the sound of people singing and swarms of yellow confetti flying around. A few Cusqueña beers and I was having a great time, so much so that a guy from the band playing to the whole square invited my up to play my yellow, plastic horn (admittedly I was drowned out by the thirty other members of the band)
New Year´s Eve was followed by a few days walking around the city and continuing to enjoy the nightlife. After a couple of relaxing days, I took a day tour of the Sacred Valley, visiting the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. It was an interesting trip and it made me even more eager to begin the Inca trail.
Soon I found myself in the office of Llama Path discussing the following 4 days in which I would be trekking 42km to the infamous Machu Picchu site. The following morning I was woken up at 5am by my tour guide shaking me in my bed and my alarm beeping next to me. I jumped out of bed and ran out of the hostel, obviously still paying for the previous few nights´ lack of sleep. Nevertheless the trek started without any other glitches and we were soon deep into the mountains and away from the city-life that I was getting used to in Cusco.
I couldn´t believe the food on the trip; it was incredible that such great meals could be produced on the side of the mountain. Breakfast was typically hot chocolate, porridge, bread and jam, followed by either fruit salad or pancakes
The first day trekking was relatively flat and so pretty easy. The second day, on the other hand, was by far the hardest. We climbed 1km in altitude to reach Dead Woman´s Pass (4200m), before walking back down and then back up over the 2nd pass. After trekking for 8hrs with 15kg on my back, I was extremely relieved to arrive at the campsite. The views were stunning and the sun started to shine after a very wet day. The third day was pretty relaxed, arriving at the main campsite by lunchtime. Up until now we saw almost nobody along the trail, apart from one other group which the 3 Aussie guys happened to be in. On this last night we stayed at a the jump-off campsite for the National Park which had the luxuries of a shower and a bar where we relaxed and enjoyed the local beers. The following morning we woke at 3am, ate cake for breakfast and left. It was raining continuously and stuck in the clouds, so when we arrived we couldn´t see anything! Fortunately the clouds subsided to reveal the amazing Machu Picchu ruins. We had visited other Inca ruins along the trek but they were minuscule in comparison... this place was a whole town, a town hidden from the Spaniards until being rediscovered in the early 1900s
The group was made up of 7 travellers, 13 porters, 1 cook and a guide. The porters were incredible and carried everything from gas canisters, food, tents for sleeping and cooking plus some of the people´s backpacks. Some of the porters from other groups had poor shoewear and were made to carry 40kgs at times despite a law preventing this, so I appreciated the fact that our porters were well looked after. The guide was a really fun guy and really knowledgeable, captivating everyone with the history of the local Quechuans and the ruling Incas throughout the trip.
During the trek I learned a lot about the history of the area and was able to witness it all up close. The views from the mountains were incredible and Machu Picchu was just the icing on the cake. Overall the experience was by far the most challenging, fascinating, rewarding and enjoyable part of my trip so far.